January 31, 2008

Swag #1: Darren

Click on the photo and log in to Darren's myspace. Then go back the profile page and download Void (live in '07) from the player.

Swag #2: Sophie

Click on the picture and go to the News part of Sophie's site for a great previously unreleased song called Love Is The Law. Or try here if you have trouble. Note the song quality is very "low."

January 30, 2008

If it were up to me, vol. 1

On a recent mixtape post I said: If it were up to Marc Almond's next album would be produced by Rufus Wainwright. I thought it would be easy fun to figure out some other things I might do if I were "popniscient."

If it were up to me...

Mariah Carey
would do 3 things: 1) Cut her hair to shoulder length, 2) Stop walking with her tits and ass thrust out and 3) take those knockers down a notch.

Shara Nelson would return with a new album that included a collaboration with Mark Ronson. Likewise, Ronson would record with Neneh Cherry.

Dubstar would reform and create a perfect album called Twilight. I just came up with that title as I typed it.

Amy Winehouse would get well and Whitney would make everyone cry cry cry with a major return on TV.

Madonna would release a major, monolithic, mega ballad along the lines of Frozen or Live To Tell. This is the perfect moment and there are rumours that her new CD contains such a song done with Justine Timberrod.

Jeff Buckley and Kirsty MacColl would return to the living.

Robyn would play the Black Cat in DC.

The Pipettes would defy common expectation and actually record a follow-up that is even better than their debut.

John "Dick-in-a-bun" Barrowman would not record such cheesy songs in such a cheesy fashion.

The Smiths would not reform, but release remasters before the demise of the CD.

I could buy MP3's (DRM-free) from any iTunes in the world.

Anneli Drecker would release an album in 2008.

West End Girls would actually have songs written for them by Pet Shop Boys.

Oh wait, that last one has really happened!

January 28, 2008

'07 Rewind: Oh Annie!

Scroll down this Best of 2007 page/tag for a list of various favorites, including albums and songs of the year...

Don't. Mess. with. Ms. Lennox.

In December I did my "superlatives" post and I forgot something major: the very best of the Misheard Lyric of 2007. I had mentioned some others, but failed to comment on this zinger. Here it is, with evidence:

Actual lyric:

"How can I ever put a stop to it
and look you in the face again"

Misheard lyric:

"How can I ever put a stop to it
and fuck you in the face again"

The evidence:

Annie Lennox Big Sky sample

Pretty damning, I'd say. Is it time to try Annie in my Kangaroo Court or shall we let her go because she is a true humanitarian?

How to impress, XO stylee

1) Cat Power is not a person.
2) Chan Marshall is Cat Power.
3) Chan Marshall is pronounced Shawn Marshall.

There! While you drink your gin fizz, you can work that last one into a conversation and wow everyone with your indie bona fides: "Did you know Shawn Marshall is a protege of Lagerfeld?" [evidence] In truth, I have not heard one song from her new covers album, Jukebox, but I love the cover image.

January 26, 2008

Appreciating Shara Nelson

Reading reviews of the new Adele CD, there is frequently mention of Massive Attack and the great vocalist Shara Nelson. She's been long absent from her post in the 1990's as the elegant queen of new ambient Brit soul, but her music still sounds great 15 - wow! - years later.

Shara was discovered in 1991 by Massive Attack, who gave her the lead on their trip-hoppy mood piece
Unfinished Sympathy [ed: it literally took my dumb ass 2 years to realize that song was not called Unfinished Symphony!]. Watch the video - it's one of the finest songs of the nineties.

She followed up with a near perfect solo debut in 1993 called What Silence Knows - this is the kind of album you can find on Amazon Marketplace
for a song, which is a travesty because it's brilliant. Nobody is an excellent song for the iPod age - music for stomping over pissants! Down That Road evokes pride, personal freedom, etc etc in a catchy, thoroughly contemporary pop soul song. Her collaborators reveal her willingness to take chances: PM Dawn, Paul Oakenfeld, Tim Simenon, Bomb TheBass, Saint Etienne, Mike Peden and David Arnold, among others.

Shara's second album, 1995's Friendly Fire, was edgier, but not quite up to snuff and really only had one track I truly liked, After You. She reappeared on David Arnold's 1999 James Bond tribute CD with a sparkling, pure cover of Moonraker.

Since the 90's there has been very little heard from Shara. It appears she has recorded a new track called Go That Deep with a group called NUfrequency (watch a teaser). Her
website is a bit out of date, but does offer up a free MP3 called If. Meanwhile, her contemporaries Portishead are about to launch their first album in years, so a new one from Shara would be welcome by many...

January 25, 2008

A rare photo indeed

Beardy Will Gregory actually appearing in a publicity photo with Alison Goldfrapp! One month until the album is released. Check out the Guardian piece today. And can I just say that I think A&E is one of those very rare songs that is never going to wear out for me?

photo by Serge Leblon from Goldfrapp.fr

January 24, 2008

Mixtape: January is boring, isn't it?

It is fekking cold here. Like 22 degrees on Sunday (Farenheit). Not loving that unless it comes with mountains of snow snow snow. Winter has a brought drifts of meh onto blogs. This very blog has turned into an 80's nostalgia site while I await some good new music.

Speaking of which, Adele's label, XL, has kept a tight lid on her album, due in a matter of days. I noticed Web Sheriff policing sites and (heavyhandedly, IMO) commenting on blogs that were NOT posting her songs with this whole "Thank you for not sharing Adele" shizz.

Stream Duffy's new single Mercy.

Sounds like Madonna is this close to releasing her new single, which I hope will be Four Minutes To Save The World.

Thank you many times over to the nice person who sent me The B-52's Don't Worry.

Sophie Ellis Bextor fans are uber pissed because she just canceled her tour for the second time. I have a theory that there is something she's not saying. You know, like maybe it will all be sorted out in nine months or something... we'll see. Just a theory.

We've been watching a lot of Top Gear on BBC America. Do my British bloke friends watch that show? Tonight Hugh Grant was on the show, talking about how his Bentley made his "bollocks" hurt and he traded the car in. Do my British friends bollocks hurt? You can watch Hugh here.

Temposhark's duet with Imogen Heap is fantastic and a must for "Immi" fans. It's out March 3/4.

Darren "Le Dazz Hot" Hayes
has like 300 versions of Casey coming out! I could not keep track in his blog post. I need a list Darren.

Regarding that Madonna oldie Keep The Trance: very weak. Her demos tend to suck. If you've ever heard the first version of Drowned World, it had no melody. Never judge a girl by her demos.

Do judge Taylor Dayne for her album cover, which features some Xtreme Airbrushing!

Yaz(oo) boxset this year: 2 remasters, a rarities disc and a DVD. Or perhaps you knew this from the many other people who commented first. Can't stop now, don't you know.

The Feeling have a new blog. I was wondering what had happened to them? When is that album out? The video is a hearty disappointment.

I forgot about THE misheard lyric of 2007 and I will do something on that very soon. It's a doozy.

If it were up to me, the next Marc Almond album would be produced by Rufus Wainwright. I think those two are psychic twins.

American elections. Hmmph. GQ just did a FUN piece on what a raging egomanical asshole Rudy Guiliani is. Not that we didn't know, but thank God he isn't going to get the nomination. Even the man's own children hate him.

Gavin DeGraw's new song sounds like Daughtry. Not. My. Thing, but I'm hardly broken up about it.

Modfab just did a bit on Tigercity as did #1 Hits From Another Planet.

Goldfrapp is touring the UK in summer. I did a wee review of their CD for a certain mag that will be on newstands in the not distant future. I am quite pleased with myself over this piece - a smug feeling which can only lead to ruin.

Earth to Martin Fry: Blogs are the place for you to talk about your new album. Just sayin'...

PopJustice has Sam Sparro's lush Black And Gold as the Song Of The Day. Sammy has been signed to Island. Give the man a clothes budget, please! Said with love.

Finally, I am fizzing at the slit over the new Torchwood. Countdown to Saturday night. Kiss all the men and women you can...

wintry photo by Ricky Adam

January 22, 2008

How long I have waited

The winner of the Shelby Lynne signed "digipak" for Just A Little Lovin' is...
Jason "S-V"

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Tristen at Filter for supplying the swag. The answer to the question of who is Shelby's famous sibling? Allison Moorer, another great singer who has a covers CD coming out. It has been noted that Allison also married to the disheveled Steve Earle.

I have a picture pinned to my wall.

For years I thought the above line was "I have a picture into my wall." What was I thinking? KulPop has good news that The Thompson Twins are getting the remaster treatment in March. KulPop has actually written about the Twins before, with a great a Where Are They Now post.

I could not really do a "Top Ten Plus One" for this band, but my faves include Lay Your Hands On Me, The Gap, Hold Me Now, King For A Day, and my absolute fave You Take Me Up.

I am such a whore for these remasters. I buy them, salivate on the liner notes, load the songs onto my iPod and never .play. them. again.

Update: I found this blog with lots of info (though dead links). I am now obsessed with finding the original UK 12" single of Lay Your Hands On Me (see below), produced by Alex Sadkin, not Nile Rodgers.

I remember thinking how cool all the pearl styling was at the time.

January 21, 2008

Funny Picture of The Week

After much searching for a more affordable place to live, I have finally chosen to move into Erykah Badu's hair. Really though, everything is so right about this photo: the clouds of hair, the Harry Potter glasses, the Izod Lacoste. Mental. And now I hear she has a double album coming! How has this woman continued to get people to finance her? It's been over ten years now, with only one or two hits. ??

Source: Dlisted.

January 20, 2008

Shelby unlocks the do' to your heart

She's old school. Doesn't own a cellphone to call Triple A

While I know the ideal prize in a Shelby Lynne contest would be to have a drink and a smoke with the lady herself in a dodgy old bar playin' Dusty on the jukebox, I have the next best thing: her new album... signed. Answer the trivia question below and your name will be put in the hat. I'll pull the winner on Tuesday.

The question: Name Shelby's famous sibling and what that person does for a living. It's getting harder to come up with trivia questions in the age of Google. Email me your answer and name. I'll contact you if you win. The prize will be sent from Filter in LA. Once again, this contest is for Americans only - not my rule, but I don't have to pay the postage.

Just A Little Lovin' is released January 29th, so les miserables who don't win can just buy it. Remember this is a special album: Nine of the ten tracks are songs originally sung by the great Dusty Springfield. The press release says that producer Phil Ramone recorded the songs live on "two-inch" tape, whatever that means, at "legendary Capital Studio A in Los Angeles." I think this means the whole affair is very old-Hollywood-faithful? The new track Shelby wrote is a countryish guitar ballad (surprise!) called Pretend.

My favorite song on the record is the heartbroken yet dignified I Don't Wanna Hear It Anymore. A good tribute album should make you aware of songs you've never heard. Closing track How Can I Be Sure is another keeper.

Speaking of the City Of Angels (home D'luv), Shelby is going to be at The Last Great Record Store, Amoeba Records, on release day - January 29th at 7pm. Be sure to check out the amazing album cover for Just A Little Lovin'.

January 19, 2008

I've got Adele's back

Adele releases her new single Chasing Pavements this week. She calls this song her "Celine Dion moment" because it's a belter. Here's the thing that's on my tit: The PopJustice Forums have decided she is the devil and (other newcomer) Duffy is a superstar. Literally.

A few quotes on Adele from PJ, all from different people:

"Crap song, fat head, ok voice!! - she aint even interesting to look at."

"I haven't even heard anything from her and I hate her already."

"No charisma, writing ability, vocal ability or even looks."

"She's just a big, boring lump of nothing isn't she?"

Now, about Duffy, who just released an uptempo new song, the dancey and slightly shrill Mercy:

"I really loved Rockferry, but this too is amazing."

"I love her, she'll be massive this year... as far as I'm concerned this is going to be one we remember this year as a 'Great Pop Record'."

and one comment about how Duffy is more real than Lucky Soul. That has no grounding in reality, but it's an opinion, so there you go.

Part of this comes down to song tempos. Seriously, kids often don't like slow songs. But proclaiming Adele a talentless failure and a "heffer" (sic - it's heifer, dumbshit!), while talking about Duffy having a long career is apparently de rigeur. Why? Obstensibly because the Music Industry is shoving Adele down our throats - she's too "hyped." Right. As opposed to Duffy, who also made every Tops for 08 list and whose album has been in development for three long years? Equal hype. Duffy is also a cute, tiny blond and the love child of Baby Spice and Dolly Parton. Adele is plumptious and says she likes to drink and fuck.

See the language of the messageboard criticism on Adele and it almost always brings her weight up, however subtly or not. Of her body, she told The Sun this: "I’ve read some horrible things about me, but my size has never been an issue for me. If I wanted to lose weight, I’d lose weight, it’s not that difficult. I don’t feel any pressure at all. I’m happy with the way I am." I don't know how anyone else feels, but I think slamming someone for their weight is bad karma that will add on the pounds in later years [which makes me wonder about my stomach, but that's another tale].

There's also the constant refrain that people want a Strong Personality in a female pop star and when they get one, they often scream, "What a cunt!" In Adele's case, they sort of lump her in with Lily Allen, who's the icon of baited quotes. Adele is 19 and very open, though I've yet to read anything where she talks shit about others. I love that she's honest in The Sun piece about loving Destiny's Child, The Spice Girls and East 17.

I won't delve too deeply into the fact that Britain cannot seem to produce a black female soul star. The recent successes have all been white girls who sound like they were raised in Baptist choirs. You tell me what the deal is there. The black singers exist: Jonte Short from Fried could have been a huge star.

Adele's 12-song album
19 is out on January 28 and I've heard four solid tracks from it thus far. If you don't like her, well, you don't like her. Fair! The point is, perhaps, that I like some thoughtful basis for sweeping criticism of an artist whose album has not even been heard. The Cycle of Build Up/Tear Down has reached an absurd speed this month.

pic from The Sun

January 18, 2008

Cover Story: Tranny Janet

You've probably seen the Discipline album cover all over the web, but you really must look at it up close. Here is a case where a vinyl album cover would be ghoulish. Go ahead though, open your eyes wide and look into the face of horror.

National Society... did a good bit on this photo, likening her to Pete Burns (00's version) and a PopJustice kid noted what I did: that her hair is melted to her head. Maybe Sister Badonkadonk put on too much relaxer? And don't get me started on the Jocelyn Wildenstein cat eyes. Doesn't it look like they've been painted onto her eyelids?

Janet is clearly one of those philistines who equates "edgy" with "ugly." And has she not already done the dominatrix/ submissive shit on Velvet Rope, dripping candle wax on her cooze, etc etc etc?

PS: The single still sucks, but I will hold out hope for the album.

January 16, 2008

We're a long way from home

John, late of Lost In The 80's, and now of PopDose, has a loving post on Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Be sure to read it. Their big Christmas ornament of a ballad The Power Of Love (video) remains one of my Top 20 favorite songs of all time and the Welcome To The Pleasuredome double album should be in any pop fan's collection. The 13-minute+ title track (video) - where sex and horror are the newwww Gods! - is a true masterpiece of its time. Collaborators on the project included Trevor Horn, Stephen Lipson, Paul Morley and Anton Corbijn.

It is hard to believe today, but this band was a worldwide sensation during the period of their first CD in 1984. Massive. Aptly, their success was like an orgasm that dissipated quickly after a major buildup. Today Frankie Say No More.

Note that John has a few songs posted at PopDose. If anyone can name the connection between Sarah Nixey and FGTH, I won't give you a gift or a kiss, but I will be impressed!

ABC affectionately

ABC has been on the minds of myself and Worrapalova lately, so the time has come for new music. Click on the image above to hear the new ABC single The Very First Time, from their new album Traffic. Sounds like... ABC! It won't change the world, but Martin still has an ear for a pop melody.

My Top Ten (Plus One) ABC songs:

The Look Of Love (and Part IV)
All Of My Heart
the kindest cut's the cruelest part
Peace and Tranquility
this and the next song are from 2001
4ever 2gether
Speak. No.
Be Near Me
all my dreams came true once more, in tears
How To Be A Millionaire
i've seen the future - i can't afford it!
One Better World
their 90's moment
Poison Arrow
I gave you my heart, the story ends
That Was Then But This Is Now
help yourself to another piece of apple crumble
instrumental medley

January 14, 2008

Take me back to Tigercity

Does that picture get your attention?

Tigercity is an American band. On this blog. Rolling Stone named them an Artist To Watch, but who pays attention to Rolling Stone [shiver]? They come to me via The Goddess That Is Tracey Thorn, who put them in her Top 10 list for 2007. A few weeks ago I heard The Gadsdens, then I heard Sam Sparro and now this, Tigercity singing Powerstripe. New artists, each unique from the other, all with PERFECT songs.

They're from New York City, but formed during college in Massachusetts. They're quote hairy blokes, but the singer is, thankfully, the bald one (the Royal We support baldness). Their influences are eye-catching, supercool and clearly honest: Prince, Talking Heads, Daft Punk, The Cars, Prefab Sprout, David Bowie, Chic, Earth Wind & Fire, Roxy Music, Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, and - they're they are again - Scritti Politti.

I feel guilty posting a full song here, but I want you need to be able to click that little green arrow to understand why this band is so good, so I've posted a 90 second sample*:

Tigercity Powerstripe (sample)

Buy the Tigercity songs or EP, Pretend Not To Love, on itunes or from their store. *Thanks to Jason B for extracting the sample for me!

Bad lyrics #1

No offense to anyone who likes this lyric, but I do not:

How I've spun my wheels with carts before my horse. And shine on the outside springs from gloom. Spotlight on these seeds of simpler reasons. And score bourne into corn, stretching my limit.

- Alanis Morrissette, Underneath, 2008

That gives me diarrhea chills, it's so terrible. It is fun to recite aloud in the slow, precise voice of a lonely poet doing a public reading.

It's just... talking above the audience, isn't it? I actually like many Alanis songs, but this is the woman who once sang about giving head in a theater.

January 12, 2008

She Of The Dolly Parton Dimples

The ubiquitous Duffy appeared recently on Jools Holland to sing mores songs from her Rockferry CD (out March 3), this one a lovely Van Morrison-ish number called Warwick Avenue. You know how Van always sings songs about places he used to hang out? He is the master of that genre, along with Richard Hawley. These guys - and now the prettier Duffy - know how we like to get all misty about the "golden days" when we, you know, ran wild in the streets or kissed in doorways. Things I never did. Anywhere.

There's clearly some big, big money behind Duffy, 23, who gets major press this week in the Times Online. That paper is also hosting a free song, which I could not download, perhaps because I have an American IP. The track is called Breaking My Own Heart and if any of you want to send it my way, by all means do!

A few facts about Duffy that I have gleaned from the Times and other sources: 1) Welsh is her first language, 2) Sia's producer (and Mr. Sarah Nixey), Jimmy Hogarth, produced some of her songs, 3) the album has been in development for three years, so she is not really post-Winehouse, and 4) Duffy has a twin sister: I wonder if they pull the switch?

Finally, here is a link to another Duffy song on Jools, this one being her new single, Mercy. You can also catch her on Jools' NYE Hootenanny here.

Headline: Jackson Keeps Her Clothes On!

The best picture of Janet Jackson in many years. Still not in love with the single (Feedback), but will hold out hope she can bring it for the CD.

January 11, 2008

Modern talking

Scavullo, 1984

Popjustice Forums recently had a thread on favorite spoken bits in songs. Note that it's more about how they're said than the actual lyrics. Here are my 3 from least famous to most famous. Click on the song title to hear/see them:

Dubstar at 3:33, the last minute of Week In, Week Out:

Here am I, dressed in my bravest face
Same time, same place, week in, week out
I can't give you any more somehow
The goal to mention, you know my susceptable mind
And unwind, unlock my defences
And I'll be here, dressed in a brave face
Your choice, same time, same place...
Next week.

sorry I cannot find an online sample!

Madonna at 2:14 on Stay:

Don't be afraid, it's gonna be alright, cuz I know that I can make you love me...

Hear a decent remix of the demo

ABC at 2:38 on The Look Of Love:

And all my friends just might ask me,
They say "Martin, maybe one day you'll find true love?
And I say "Maybe... there must be a solution to
The one thing, the one thing we can't find"

This post kinda doesn't work if you can't hear them all, but whatevah. What do you think? There are a zillion. I didn't even touch Kate Bush.

2 bazillion scorer in Tetris comes to the USAyyyy

Robyn is finally coming to America
. Her Konichiwa Bitches EP is due out here on Jan 29 and the Robyn album is finally coming out in March. Here are her first tour dates:

Feb 5: New York Highline Ballroom
Feb 7: San Francisco Popscene
Feb 9: Los Angeles Troubadour

I don't mind flogging for Robyn because She Is Worthy. She also has a super kawai/superfly PR woman who made the magic happen for Rufus and me.

January 9, 2008

Mixtape: Wide to receive

My life is just an image of a rollercoaster anyway. I keep thinking of that EBTG line lately. I cannot say I am "well chuffed" by how 2008 has begun. I keep joking that it's the Year Everything Finally Goes To Hell. To bolster my mood, I've chosen a Jordan pic for this post! I love Jordan and read about her adventures via Heat Magazine each week. Sheis an authoress and glamour model. Click to see my fave pic of Jordan with her family. Yet another reason to emigrate to the UK... btw, the link color is in her hono(u)r

I like how Pop Muse called Roisin Murphy "the new Grace Jones." Although "Ladies and gentleman, here's Roisin!" does not have the same effect.

My post on Scritti Politti got a record number of comments for this blog. WHO KNEW? Anyway, I just noticed another Scritti post at Modern Music (I've linked to the 80's posts).

A Brit fave shared by Paul de Zappin and myself is now set to return: Captain's new 6-minute single (how commercial!) is called Animal. Stream it now on their scroll-crazy myspace and you'll note the sound is decidely rockier. The song is so damn long that it has an attic, a basement and a trailer out back. Can't say I am loving it, sorry to say.

When I heard the name of REM's new album - Accelerate - I thought "Didn't they already have an album with that title?" This will sound odd, but it was the same feeling I had this week when I heard that Maragret Thatcher is still alive. WHO KNEW? I thought for sure she'd died years ago! Anyway, remember when REM had real album titles like Lifes Rich Pageant and Fables Of The Reconstruction?

ElMarvelOso just did a post on Beyonce's bad lyrics and it made me think of a wonky lyric on the new Kylie CD. It's on a song I love, All I See: "There's nothing that can break us apart in two." Err, yes, "apart" or "in two" will suffice. Just sayin'...

It's hard to believe The Feeling are about to release a CD. They seem to have disappeared. Their website has not been updated for a month.

Expanding on Alison Goldfrapp's recent comment that everything's artificial,
Robyn tells The Times this week that "We have artifice and then we have ‘real’. We’ve lost the in between.” She's coming to America, by the way. More on that Friday.

Sasha Frere-Jones writes a Kate Nash review in The New Yorker this week. He offhandedly labels Adele an "unbearable neo-soul singer." Reee-ight. While he does write a nice description of Nash's single Foundations, he later talks about the "juvenilia" on the record. Right again, dickhead, she's 19.

Lost In The 80's isn't really dead, it just moved to Jersey.

Access Hollywood did a piece on Jennifer Hudson's album and the music sounded terrrrrible. The production team in the bit was The Underdogs, who are nothing special, to my ears anyway.

Born Again 80's did a post on Hojo's mid-80's classic Like To Get To Know You Well. I think I had the 12" of that.

The B-52's are sure lookin' fresh! It's inspirational. Skinny pants help, take it from me. Modfab did that post on their upcoming return and I totally agree that they influenced the Scissters, not the other way 'round. If anyone has an MP3 of their version of Yoko Ono's Don't Worry (from the vinyl version of Whammy!), please send it to me. It's a longtime fave and I cannot find it anywhere. Update: thanks to the lovely person who sent me an MP3!

Sia's new CD has a lush version of I Go To Sleep. She adds a string arrangement that seems perfect for the song. More on that record soon. It's got some stunning songs, but is a little heavy on the ballads.

Amy Winehouse is a yellow blonde? Holy shit. My tears won't dry on their own. sorry, bad pun

Where in the world is Shirley Manson? Come back to the five and dime, Shirley Manson, Shirley Manson.

Finally, Philly, I am checkin' up on you this weekend. I'll bring my own disco string section and pray I encounter Miss Patti.

January 8, 2008

XOvision: It may be pills at work.

Goldfrapp A&E:

Click on image to watch the video. I can't embed it.

Leave people. Tree people. A fabulous fox at 2:37ish. Alison looking like Madonna. And a nice cameo from the mysterious Will Gregory, the Greatest Musician You Don't Know. One of the Top 5 Goldfrapp songs ever. Seems like a fall song though, and not just because of the campout.

Sugababes Denial:

I only have two photos in my hands. I. will. only. call. two. names. [pause] Congratulations Heidi and Keisha, you are still in the running towards becoming Britain's Next Top Model. [whispers] Thank you girls.

Amelle, return to the loft, pack your belongings and leave.

Janet Jackson Feedback:

Okay. Here is the deal. A passable video for a sub-Britney song. The outfit is far from flattering, but at least it's a concept other than "look how my top disappears!" I find green screen videos to be kind of lame, you know? I do like how she goes flying down from stars and she looks decent when she's playing cum hacky sack at the end.

It's going to be an uberbusy week for me, so I can't promise much blogwise. Unless, of course, that damned Madonna song leaks...

January 6, 2008

Up in 08: Sam Sparro

Nice tee shirt! Aussie-born Los Angeleno Sam Sparro is, simply put, the man to fill the gap left by missing-in-action soulsters Lewis Taylor and Maxwell. We already know skanky penis-pierced, guitar-slinging Lenny Kravitz can't do it. He can't handle the disco.

Black And Gold is Sam's signature tune and it's gorgeous, pulsating and totally hot. Cottonmouth, streaming on his myspace, is also class. Nick Huggett, head of A&R at Columbia Records, recently told The Guardian that he'd tried to sign him but lost. Columbia?! Things must be good for Sam! He's currently finishing his album and is set to make a new video for Black And Gold.

Which brings me to a problem, and I say this with love: Sam is sartorially challenged. I think he must go to Ari Gold's stylist (see what I mean) because the clothes are shameful! Sam need never do another video like the recent one for Cottonmouth - he looks 13 and silly. It's just beneath his music. Instead, watch Black And Gold below, despite the shimmer, gold chains and hoodies. Next video, Sam needs to just put on that Grace Jones tee and sing sing sing. He can do that quite well.

To actually buy Sam's songs may prove quite difficult. His website says Black And Gold is available at iTunes and emusic, but it's not. Bagpak has the songs, but requires Paypal and I was not able to download what I paid for (I have sent them a letter!). You could try other blogs until Sam gets solid distribution, though I am not necessarily advising that!

January 5, 2008

When it comes to you, I can't wait

It's 2008 and Róisín is back. The perfect You Know Me Better is out this winter and above is a look at the cover photo shoot (the same one they did for Attitude magazine). That hat scares me. It looks like dirty feathers from grandma's attic. I bet it smells. A small price for the haute.

On Christmas Eve I received Róisín's live CD, Live At Ancienne Belgique, and it's a corker. The 9-minute live performance of Overpowered is much stronger than the studio version, with a killer intro and an insane electro breakdown at the end. Also excellent are the live versions of Checkin' On Me (which should be called Thumpin' On Me!), Primitive (minus the face slam) and Movie Star.

Sadly, Let Me Know is sort of muted and lacking the fizz of the original. It's more jazzy, bookended with extended jams that are just... boring... in the same way Prince extends some of his live songs ad nauseum.

I love it when she tells the Belgians they are a "very civilized people" at the end of the performance of You Know Me Better. Once again, she reminds me that I like my pop stars with heart and smarts... not self destructive, if you get my drift.

1985: In times of tenderness

Scritti Politti Perfect Way:

Remember when an album was preceded by multiple singles? Like the artist just kept releasing 45s until they had an album? That was the case with Scritti Politti's classic synthpop Top 5 album Cupid and Psyche '85. The first release was the Scritti song that really goes down in history, Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin). It came out in March 1984 and was followed by Absolute in June, Hypnotize in November and The Word Girl in May 1985.*

Finally in June 1985, Cupid and Psyche '85 was released, adding six songs to the set of singles, including my favorite track, Perfect Way. I bought this on 7" in the 11th grade (it hit #11 in the US). I love the chiming synth on the opening and the lyrics, with words like margin, complacency and omission. The breathy vocals, the piano and staccato rhythms are crucial to the whole Scritti sound. In fact, Miles Davis liked this tune so much, he covered it in 1986!

Scritti Politti Perfect Way expired

A few bits'n'bobs:

*I would not be surprised if Phil owns all of these on vinyl!

January 4, 2008

Cover Story: Seventh Tree

I like this album cover, but doesn't she look like one of the Olson Twins?
For those who've not heard the perfect A&E, it is streaming on myspace...

Goldfrapp's prairie warbles

KCRW in Los Angeles has started playing Clowns, the first song on Goldfrapp's beautiful new album Seventh Tree. The album is a sharp turn towards the "pastoral", and this song is the most extreme example of that.

I cannot wait to hear Clowns in high quality - the leak is indecipherable! It is radically beautiful, like orchestral folk music. Q accurately describes the vocals as a mix of Sandy Denny and Kate Bush. Take a look at the Q piece now - Alison, who looks exactly like Madonna in the photo, always has something clever to say. She says of the new album:

I see a choir, a childrens' recorder group, and girls in big blouses playing glockenspiels.

The piece also references the New Seekers' Coke commercial. The New Seekers sang I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing and Coca Cola did a commercial based on it (or maybe vice versa), though New Seekers did not appear in the commercial or sing on it. Regardless, the point is the mood of the song and commercial, which is decidedly hippie, or as my friend Thom says, "prairie" music:

Alison recently told MÄNNER that she tried to avoid the record company "as long as possible" when they finished the album (read this in English at iHeartBerlin). I don't know what they're worried about. It's as good as Supernature in its own way. I love what she says when they ask if Goldfrapp will leave behind the "staginess" of its last few records:

Definitely not. I don’t believe in naturalness. Everything is artificial. Goldfrapp has always been about fantasies and a certain kind of drama.

The hospital-set single A&E is out on February 15 with remixes by Maps, Gui Boratto and one called the Hercules and Love Affair Remix. I believe Arjan has an interview with her soon, but I have not seen any other press yet.

If you've not heard Clowns, you might try this blog to stream it... though I doubt it will last there long.

UPDATE: See post above for the album cover!

January 3, 2008

XOvision: Honey I will stitch you

Lykke Li Little Bit:

The first video for Lykke Li, the girl in the photo I posted last night. And that's the world-famous Kleerup pounding on the piano. And me dancing shirtless, in my underpants. Right? The Swedish Li's first album, cleverly titled Youth Novels, is due out January 30. Expect more from her and be sure to check out the lyrics to this song.

Sia Day Too Soon:

Sia's an odd sock, isn't she? This song is much more mainstream than I expected, like a 70's soul tune concocted for AM radio (think Carole King or Roberta Flack). I love it. As for the video, there is a visual payoff at the end.

One Night Only Just For Tonight:

Somebody was weaned on Bono Vox! This new group from Helmsley, UK (watch this!), was surely signed in the wake of The Kooks. Started a Fire, their debut album hits February 4. Their previous single, You And Me, isn't bad either, if not musically distinctive. And how old are they, with the babyfresh skin and emo hair?

January 2, 2008

Fell in love with a girl

You don't know her face or her voice. Yet.
Find out more tomorrow morning.

Mixtape: 2008 or Bust!

Oh no, that's not what you think it is!

Goodbye 2007. I have put you in a golden box and closed it. Onward!

I updated my Superlatives post with a few new categories and added bits. Okay, tally ho...

For those who care, digital album packaging should improve in 2008.

You might have noticed (or not) that I haven't mentioned Rufus Wainwright's new Judy Garland CD much. Not my thing. I find her songs grating in the extreme, bar a few songs laden with "pathos." If I never hear The Trolley Song again, I will be a happy man. That said, I am stilll a Rufus fan.

Alphabeat are a bunch of kicky 20-something Danes, but I swear they're actually the TV cast of Fame! Watch Fascination to see what I mean. My jury is out, but they are a big hit on Dirrrty Pop, You Don't Know Pop and PopJustice. Hmmm, you think they're folk?

What happened to the new Kate Bush song for Golden Compass? It never came out. Backassward record companies.

Goldfrapp's new A&E video out around January 13.

The latest Morrissey hits album has a shite tracklist (Redondo Beach anyone?) and 2 new songs, both possibly lame. It does have a dreamy cover photo though. Rumor has it there will be a 2-disc version, which may be worth some $. Moz is doing his next CD with Jerry Finn. Good news, since Finn produced the brilliant You Are The Quarry in 2004.

Daniel Merriweather's upcoming solo song is good - it's called Chainsaw. Arjan has it. I think he is working with Mark Ronson on his album for 2008. Remember that Merriweather did the incredible vocal on Ronson's reworking of Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before.

Did you download Lucky Soul's Christmas song Lonely This Christmas? I think it's a cover, but it's very good. Get it, if you still want a Christmas song, at 7 Digital.

Speaking of which, did you notice Coldplay covered Last Christmas on their website. It's very dour. And Chris is hiding his latest hairstyle, that minx. I wonder if he spent the holidays at a country house being all patrician with his inlaws, followed by a NYE jet trip with Jay Z and Bouncey? Do you detect disdain from me? Nahhh!

Erik, a fellow pop fan in Seattle alerted me to something cool that may be especially amusing for international readers. It's C895, a radio station owned by the Seattle Public Schools and actually operated by students of Nathan Hale High School as part of their radio broadcasting course! They do it all! Production, programming, music selection, copy, and DJ'ing. What's very unexpected is the music they're playing: Kylie, September, M.I.A., Mark Ronson, Sophie EB, even Cascada. Erik warns that sometimes the kids are bit rough on the edges, but you can listen in streaming audio. Might be fun for your office.

Angular cheeked, angelic voiced Morten Harket (look!) has a new CD out in January called Letters From Egypt. I agree with Torr that Morten's new single Movies is weak. It's a cover of a song originally called My Woman by The Locomotives, a Norwegian group and you can play it here. I'd love to hear Morten work with someone like Guy Sigsworth (imagine Kate Havnevik's album sung by Morton)!

Did you notice that Guy "Frou Frou" Sigsworth's next big project is the new Alanis CD due out this Spring? Read more here. That is intriguing. I have always waffled on her voice, but I love songs like Thank You, Hands Clean and So Unsexy. It has a sort of wonky title though: Flavors of Entanglement. Whatever, she is the woman who validated giving head in movie theaters, isn't she?

Fan video for kd lang's new song I Dream Of Spring. The studio version is very folky and Ingenue-ish.

Pete Paphides of The Times is guessing who will blow up in '08.

Sorry I never did my "red cup photo" for Mr. Zapping. That was a great idea and I think I'm too late. Next year if I am lucky enough!

January 1, 2008

The Last List, 2007

A big ol' list of songs I liked in 2007. I keep this throughout the year in a Word file, because I am a spazzed-out music dork.

A Fine Frenzy: Come On Come Out / Lifesize / Rangers A Silent Film: The Lamplight Morton Abel: Trendsetter (old) Ryan Adams: Two Air: Somewhere Between Sleeping And Walking Lily Allen with Common: Drivin’ Me Wild Marc Almond: Happy Heart / Redeem Me Tori Amos: Bouncing Off Clouds / Secret Spell / Teenage Hustling Brett Anderson: Love Is Dead / One Lazy Morning Anouk: Good God Aqualung: Garden Of Love / Pressure Suit Arcade Fire: Black Mirror / Keep The Car Running Arctic Monkeys: Fluorescent Adolescent Sara Bareilles: Between The Lines / City / Gravity / Love Song Samuel Barnett: Bewitched… (from The History Boys) Tom Baxter: Better / Skybound / Tell Her Today Natasha Bedingfeld: Say It Again / Smell The Roses Beyonce: Green Light (Freemasons Mix) Sophie Ellis Bextor: Move To The Music / Can’t Have It All / Catch You / If You Go / New York City Lights / What Have We Started Mary J Blige: Come To Me (Peace) / Fade Away / Sleepwalkin’ Bjork: Wanderlust Bloc Party: I Still Remember Blonde Redhead: The Dress Boy George: Time Machine Mutya Buena: Real Girl / Fast Car Basia Bulat: Snakes And Ladders Melanie C: This Time Vanessa Carlton: Nolita Fairytale Cherry Ghost: False Alarm / Help The People / Mathematics Chester French: She Loves Everybody Clare & The Reasons: Alphabet City / Pluto Nelson Clemente: You Me Us We Client: It’s Not Over Crowded House: Don’t Stop Now /You’re The Only One To Make Me Cry Justin Currie: No, Surrender / Still In Love Matt Darey: Beautiful Day (Sunburst Radio Edit) De Souza and Shena: Guilty Delays: Love Made Visible / You See Colours Siobhan Donaghy: Medevac / So You Say / There’s A Place Dragonette: Competition / I Get Around / Another Day / Take It Like A Man Anneli Drecker: All I Know (old) / Who On Earth (old) / You Don’t Have To Change (old) Duke Special: Freewheel (live version) / Last Night I Nearly Died / Love Is A Series Of Scars Duran Duran: Nite Runner / Skin Divers Eskimo Joe: London Bombs Etherfox feat Antigone: Something Different To Say Feist: 1234 /How The Heart Behaves / My Man, My Moon Fergie: Glamorous Bryan Ferry: All Along The Watchtower Fields: Charming The Flames Jessica Folcker: Desperately Gabrielle: All I Want / Always / I Remember Garbage: Tell Me Where It Hurts Ghosts: Ghosts / Hate This Music / Stop / Temporary Bebel Gilberto: Momento Girls Aloud: Black Jacks / Call The Shots / Control of The Knife / Sexy! No, No, No… Ari Gold: Transport Me / Where The Music Takes You GoodBooks: Paschendaele / The Illness Gotye: Heart’s A Mess Groove Armada: Paris Hard Fi: The King Deborah Harry: Two Times Blue (mixes) Richard Hawley: The Sun Refused To Shine / Tonight The Streets Are Ours Darren Hayes: Casey / Conversation With God / Fallen Angel / Step Into The Light / Who Would Have Thought? Huski: Easy Life Jennifer Lopez: Stay Together Just Jack: Disco Friends / Snowflakes (old) / Starz In Their Eyes Alicia Keys: Like You’ll Never See Me Again Damian Leith: Night of My Life Annie Lennox: Colored Bedspread / Dark Road / Fingernail Moon / Big Sky/ Smithereens Keane: The Night Sky / Under Pressure Laura Michelle Kelly: Jesus Was A Crossmaker / What’s It All For Klaxons: Golden Skans Queen Latifah: Gone Away / I’m Not In Love Jens Lekman: Sipping On The Sweet Nectar Steven Lindsay: Monkey Gone To Heaven Little Man Tate: This Must Be Love Lorraine: Saved (2007 mix) Lucky Soul: Ain’t Never Been Cool / Lips Are Unhappy / The Great Unwanted / My Darling Anything Mancini: Up Country Barry Manilow: Sailing Maroon 5: Back At Your Door / Better That We Break / Makes Me Wonder Amy MacDonald: Footballer’s Wife / Let’s Start A Band / This Is The Life Katharine McPhee: Everywhere I Go Mika: My Interpretation / Relax Take It Easy Dannii Minogue: He’s The Greatest Dancer (old) / Who Do You Love Now (Bora Bora Mix) (old) Kylie Minogue: Cosmic / White Diamond (ballad version) / I Believe In Love (TV version) / All I See / Stars / The One / Wow / Fall For You (leak) Mandy Moore: Extraordinary / Wild Hope James Morrison: Come Back And Stay Alison Moyet: Hollow / One More Time Mr. Hudson and The Library: A Tale Of Two Cities / Upon The Heath Roisin Murphy: Cry Baby / Let Me Know / Movie Star / Primitive / You Know Me Better Kate Nash: Foundations / Mouthwash / We Get On Ne-Yo: Because Of You (Josh Harris Radio Mix) / Go On Girl Sarah Nixey: Endless Circles / Masqerade / Strangelove Jay Norton: With Every Heartbeat (cover) Yoko Ono: Every Man Every Woman (old- remixed) Dolores O’Riordan: Ordinary Day Palladium: Happy Hour Passenger: Four Horses / Stray Dogs / Wicked Man’s Rest / You’re On My Mind Jack Penate: Spit At Stars Pink Martini: Hey Eugene Pleasure: Out Of Love Pointer Sisters: Dare Me (old) Prince: Chelsea Rodgers Eddi Reader: Safe As Houses / Should I Pray Rihanna: Umbrella (Jody Den Broeder Lush Mix) /Don’t Stop The Music / Hate That I Love You (K Klassic Mix) Rilo Kiley: Breakin’ Up / Dreamworld / The Moneymaker Robyn: Handle Me (Ortzroka Death To Disco Remix) / This One’s For You (leak) / Be Mine (Verschwende Deine Jugend Remix) Ronderlin: Wake Up Mark Ronson: Stop Me If You Think…, Valerie, Oh My God Diana Ross: Have Fun Again (old) / No One Gets The Prize/ The Boss remix (old) Josh Rouse: Car Crash Rumble Strips: Girls and Boys In Love Seal: Just Like Before / The Right Life Sally Shapiro: I Know Vivek Shraya: Chemistry Siouxsie Sioux: If It Doesn’t Kill You Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist Bruce Springsteen: Girls In Their Summer Clothes / Your Own Worst Enemy / Magic Stars: In Our Bedroom After The War Casey Stratton: Rising Sun Angie Stone: My People Sugababes: Change / Surprise Suzanne Vega: Bound/ Ludlow Street / Pornographer’s Dream The Go Find: New Year The Gossip: Standing In The Way Of Control The Hours: Ali In The Jungle / Love You More/ Narcissus Road The Killers: When You Were Young acoustic The National: Fake Empire / Start A War The Revelations: I’m A Lover / If I Called You On The Telephone The Rosebuds: Cemetery Lawns / Get Up Get Out The Tough Alliance: First Class Riot (old) The Twang: Either Way Tracey Thorn: It’s All True / Nowhere Near / Raise The Roof Travis: Closer Turin Brakes: For The Fire Unni Wilhelmsen: Humbly For Her (old) Voxtrot: Steven Rufus Wainwright: Between My Legs /Do I Disappoint You / Going To A Town / Nobody's Off The Hook/ Release The Stars Kanye West: The Good Life WinterKids: Who Am I Kidding? Patrick Wolf: Augustine / Bluebells / On Sussex Downs / The Magic Position / Stars Young Love: Find A New Way Bertine Zetlitz: Ashamed

I am sure I forgot a zillion songs...

Thanks to all the music bloggers who turned me onto songs / albums / artists this year. It is the means of finding new music for me. Have a lovely, gorgeous, healthy and wealthy (!) 2008.